Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Stupid Strikes Again

The Mets played a game on Wednesday afternoon that was rather specifically reminiscent of a few games they played way back in 2008, which just so happens to be the last time the team was this relevant this late in the season. I somehow maintain that 2008 was one of the more poignant seasons in Mets history because of everything that was at stake and how it all came down to the last two innings of the season. It feels like a lifetime ago, so on the one hand maybe it's good that the Mets can now once again lose games that feel as exasperating as this particular loss did. On the other hand, I think we're all sick and tired of these such exasperating losses no matter where the Mets are in the standings.

The problem in 2008 was that the Mets bullpen was so embarrassingly bad that teams, no matter how terrible they were, always kept playing extra hard against the Mets because they knew they could come back if they could get into the bullpen. The script is different now in 2015, because teams continue to play hard against the Mets knowing that if they can somehow catch a Pitcher on an off day, they can come back and grab a lead knowing that the Mets offense is so embarrassingly bad that they can't get off the mat.

This, unfortunately, is what happened on Wednesday afternoon. Noah Syndergaard gritted his way through 5 innings with less than his best stuff, but he was still good enough to depart with a 3-1 lead. The Mets offense had their 3-run spurt in a 4th inning rally, but could not tack on anything more from there. But after Hansel Robles got through the 6th and Jenrry Mejia the 7th, you had to feel pretty good about the way things were going. Bobby Parnell was reborn and pitching great, and he'd get the Mets through the 8th, and Jeurys Familia would bring it home from there, awesome win, .500 road trip, series win against fierce rival and 1 game out of 1st coming home.

But nooooooooo. That was too easy. Parnell, for the first time since his return, didn't have it. Although from what I saw on Gamecast he was throwing 96-97mph for the first time in a long time, he allowed a hit, and then a walk, and although he was 1 strike away from putting away Michael Taylor, the Nationals' 15-year old Center fielder, everything collapsed in the span of two pitches The first pitch was wild and allowed the runners to move up. The second pitch was bounced up the middle for a hit that scored both runs and tied the game. And if that wasn't bad enough, Danny Espinosa, who no longer sports the mutant Sal Fasano moustachio that he had earlier in the season, then drilled a double to left to score the 15-year old Center Fielder and give Washington the lead.

True to form, the Mets had no recourse to come back from this. Drew Støren came in and struck out the side in the 9th, and the Mets had one of those games that made me want to mash my head into my desk at work and what appeared like a golden opportunity to make a statement was flushed down the proverbial toilet.

But, this is what happens sometimes. A reliever doesn't have his best stuff every game and good teams will take advantage of that. Terry Collins put the blame on himself but should it really have come to this? Were the Mets of more offensive fortitude, they probably would have taken Jordan Zimmermann behind the woodshed because he was plenty hittable early in the game, but the Mets couldn't extend their lead like they did on Tuesday night. A few more runs in the bank and they're able to absorb a bad outing by Parnell and Collins can get Familia in the game sooner and everything is probably hunky dory. But this is what happens when you can't hit. So, for as much as you'd like to pin this loss on Parnell, or Terry Collins would like to pin the loss on himself, the reality remains that it always comes back to the fact that you can't win games if you don't hit enough. Only now has it cost the Mets a game that they really should have won and screwed them out of a really good opportunity.

Now they can come home off of a really deflating loss and have the high pleasure of facing Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke on back-to-back days and everything is terrible.

No comments: